tv Morning Joe MSNBC May 28, 2012 6:00am-9:00am EDT
money, not jobs. >> there may be value for that kind of experience, but it's not in the white house. >> and so this morning the debate over bain, the economy and where things stand in the race. with us, former presidential s candidate newt gingrich who will appear together with governor romney next week and maryland's democratic governor, chair of the democratic governors association martin o'malley. gingrich and o'malley square off. then as we kick off a hot summer of campaigning, the state of the race and the key question, will either candidate be able to pull away. with us, mayor of los angeles, antonio villaraigosa. former head of hewlett-packard, carly fiorina. "new york times" columnist david brooks and from "the washington post," and author of "our divided political heart," e.j. dionne. finally this morning, a special conversation with maria shriver and michael lewis about the advice they have for college graduates during this commencement season.
>> class of 2012, you are dismissed! from nbc news in washington "meet the press" with david gregory." candidate, you were here about a candyear ago declaring your ut a candidacy. where are you in this race? are you unequivocally behind governor romney and do you think he can win? >> oh, sure, given this level of unemployment and this level of deficits it's very likely he will win and you'll see it pull away in september and october. >> what have you learned about
mitt romney? >> he's tough. much tougher than i thought. hehe'p hehe's prepare he's takes to win. he's a very good organizer, in the end he can organize at a scale that can match obama, i couldn't. i think he's a good study. i think he really worked hard at understanding when i beat him in south carolina, what he had to do to come back in florida, and so i have substantial respect for his ability as a leader to do the things he has to do to get the jobs done. >> you heard me frame this. who's got the skills? p i fei feel like this bain a test over who can really tur this economy around. the president defended himself and the attack on bain even though cory booker cried foul about it. this is what he said and then i'll have you respond. >> if your main argument for how to grow the economy is i knew how to make a lot of money for investors, then you're missing
what this job is about. it doesn't -- it doesn't mean you weren't good at private equity, but that's not what my job is as president. my job is to take into account, everybody, not just some. >> will he come across as anti-business with this line of attack? >> no, i don't believe that. in fact, i agree with speaker gingrich during his campaign when he had to address that claim that romney initially made that oh, he created hundreds of thousands of jobs, a claim he eventually backed off of under the speaker's questioning and pressing. there are two things that romney has to recommend himself for the high office of president and one is his experience with bain capital where his job was to return profits as quickly as possible to a very narrow few rather than to create long-term jobs for the many. the second one though, which you don't hear him talking about at all is his experience in the public sector when he was governor of massachusetts.
>> i want to get to that in just a moment, but speaker, respond to this. you called his time at bain once exploitation on the campaign trail. >> sure. i think obama has the bigger problem. he has the worst record of any president since the great depression. second, bureaucratic investment has been a disaster. we had one solar company that went belly up for $2.1 billion and we have solyndra at $185 million. obama has no model of effective job creation as compared to private capital and this is why it will fall flat on his face, plus i was very careful, i didn't go after private equity. you heard the president just now. he's going after all private equity in a way which explains why you had senator warner and the governor of massachusetts who is one of his closest allies, senator feinstien and cory booker on this show.
there were 15 or 20 democrats who say this is an inaccurate and wrong approach for the president to be taking. >> if the chief qualification is i'm mitt romney, i worked in private enterprise and therefore that experience is what makes me a job creator when that's not at the core of private equity, that's their not chief function. >> let me go a step further, because we'll get to his private record. when romney left governor in massachusetts, there was 4.47% unemployment. whether obama wants to fight on governor romney's record or he wants us to fight on private sector romney's record, obama is deciding to pick a fight. this a little bit like the reverse of james carville in '92. obama picking a fight on the economy is probably the worst possible strategy for his campaign. >> i would like to disagree with that. we've driven unemployment down to three year lows. home foreclosures are lower than they were when president obama took office. we have put together the american people with effective
leadership 26 months in a row of private sector job growth. that record will be contrasted sharply to what mitt romney did as governor which was in a relatively strong state, in a better time of our economy to have that state ranked 47th out of 50 in job creation. >> the unemployment rate in massachusetts came down under his stewardship. >> the unemployment rate came down in a lot the states. they were different times. right now, our national level has been driven down the lowest in three years. it could be driven down further, with more job creation if we would get beyond this sort of tea party obstructionism that anyone would try to prevent this modern economy go. >> what is the warning, though, from the president's campaign and surrogates about what romney policy would mean for job creation? on a national level? >> what is the warning? i think what you see and i think part of the armchair critics are
missing is what with romney did, mr. romney, not governor romney, what he did at bain capital was to drive up debt by the companies that bain took over in order to return huge dividends to a small little group of investors and then walk away -- >> you have the president's job counsel with private equity folks on there and you yourself, you have the department of business and economic department headed up by someone by private equity. you seem to recognize the experience the private equity. >> absolutely. it's a part of it. but what the president of the united states, what the leader of the whole economy must be concerned about, is not the short-term return of profits to the few, but a long-term economy that creates jobs for the many. >> let's start down that road. why has unemployment come down? unemployment's come down? because participation in the workforce is at the lowest point it's been in three decades. people are retiring early because they can't find a job.
people have given up looking. if you look at the gallup surveys, the number of those who are underemployed and quit looking is 19%. this is a disastrous administration, and candidly if you want to get into a fight over debt in an administration which raised the national debt from 37% of the economy to 47% of the economy in three and a half years. this is why obama will have a hard time this fall. he can't fight over jobs because he isn't creating them. he can't fight over debt, and he has policies that people find unacceptable and romney has a straightforward case. can you afford four more years of barack obama? can you afford four more years of this economy? and can you afford four more years of this kind of debt? or do you want somebody who razz as governor did in fact, as david pointed out, the unemployment rate under romney came down. the fact that he was able to balance the budget as he had to under the law of massachusetts, and he does know a great deal
more about job creation than barack obama. >> two things on the record, with regard to debt, governor romney drove up for the people of massachusetts, the largest per capita debt of any state in the union. that's a fact. when it comes to what little bit of job creation was happening in massachusetts, it was happening in the private sect at six times the rate that it was happening in the private sector. his record whether it was at bain capital, and whether it was as governor of massachusetts, it was not a record of reducing debt and not a record of increasing private job creation, having the 47th out of 50 sites in terms of worst job creations in the country. >> except if you look over time, most of the companies did well and most of them paid off the debt. if you look at staples, for example, it was enormous. they paid off all the debt i think. i think the problem the president's got you're a normal america, look at the price of gasoline and the foreclosure rate which is coming down in part because so many houses have
been foreclosed. you look at the unemployment numbers, and you say to yourself, why would i believe barack obama would be any better in the second term? and that's why i think romney has a very strong case to say, it's time to try a different approach. >> during the campaign you said, you know what? governor romney ought to have a press conference and lay out what his experience was at bain. do you think he ought to do that still? >> i think people looked at it and i can just tell you this is why i don't understand the obama campaign strategy here. bain has an issue that doesn't work because people looked at it in balance and you can pick a couple of companies that lost. you can pick a couple of companies that succeeded and as the governor of massachusetts said last week, it is a good company and a good track record. it's a good citizen of massachusetts. >> you said this is a character issue for romney, ultimately. his time in business and what he did. >> if you look at what happened, he had the press conferences -- >> is it a character issue to you and to the president? >> i think it's more of a qualification issue. there's nothing that governor romney did either in the private sector that created jobs or in the public sector that
distinguished himself as a job creator. there's a tremendous amount of balance that's required to be president of the united states especially to bring our country back from the disastrous aftereffects from the bush recession and the bush job losses and the huge amount of our deficit, 55% of which was caused by policies, tax cuts that benefited the wealthiest of americans rather than investing in a better future and the better economy with greater opportunities that our kid said deserved. >> just one point. at this stage in 1984, no one on the reagan team was talking about the carter recession because they were talking about the reagan recovery. they were talking about the job creation under reagan. they were talking about the success of reagan. this is an administration that went from yes, we can to why we couldn't. and george w. bush is the why we couldn't apparently. the fact is that this president has been president for three and a half years.
he had a chance to fix it. it ain't fixed and the country knows it's not fixed on gasoline, it's not fixed on the economy and it's not fixed on the deficit and romney has a better shot at doing a better job than barack obama. >> i have two questions, one for you, speaker and governor romney. if you cannot close the gap, what's the opportunity for him to actually prevail in the fall? you ran to the left of him on the immigration question. he gave a speech this week and didn't even talk about immigration. how big of a problem is this for him? >> he has to address it and also again you have barack obama failed on immigration reform even when he had a democratic council and democratic senate. he's not in a good position to say he'll fix it, because he failed to fix it when he controlled the house and senate. second, he went out and talked to the hispanic chamber of commerce. if you talk to them they'll tell you, the number one issue is jobs. the number two issue is the price of gasoline, the number three issue is housing and the number four issue is education where romney spent the whole week on education and offered a very bold alternative to help poor children, particularly
black and latino and white poor children have choices other than being trapped in a failing school. the question is if you campaign on those issues, if latinos conclude that mitt romney is more likely that my family will have a job, he is more likely to bring down the price of gasoline, more likely to have my child have an effective education, does that overcome whatever the democratic attack is, and i think he'll get the same percentage that george w. bush did, which was in the 40s. >> that's a bold prediction given where they've been. >> it will take a lot of effort and a lot of campaigning. >> ron brownstein talks about what's the message? what's the job creation goal and the big idea for the second term? this is what he writes today. today, frets one senior democrat close to the white house, voters don't have a sense of what obama would do to make them a
more compelling and specific plan to improve their lives than he has offered so far. what is that plan? >> well, the plan is that in order to create jobs, a modern economy does require modern investments. speaker gingrich describes himself as a pro-growth republican. i describe myself as a pro-growth democrat. we know what we need to do is to create jobs. the how you do that is to innovate, invest in education, invest in infrastructure. >> so government has to spend more money on infrastructure in the country. that's one idea. >> to a degree. you can't do less. how much less do you want for our country? how much less education would be good for our economy? how many fewer bridges can we keep in good repair? is that good for our economy? certainly not. >> so obama's second term, government spends more because it has to. >> no. the bottom line here, david, is job creation. last year, president obama because of his leadership in america, we created more jobs as
a country last year than we created in all eight years of george w. bush. what mitt romney is offering is an alternative to take us back. back to the days of debt, back to the days of job losses and record home foreclosures. and when people are given a choice, particularly new americans about an expanding view of america with more jobs and more opportunity or a return to the days of george w. bush, they are going to choose to move forward. >> speaking of which, they want to run the campaign in the way of 2004 which is to contrast romney and obama, rather than making it a referendum. >> they have to do that because they can't live in the record, but look, let's talk about spending more. the president said he was shocked to discover shovel-ready jobs weren't shovel-ready. romney represents private investment. romney made an education proposal this week that would actually improve the education of poor americans and improve the education of american with disabilities while lowering the cost.
new york city, if your child goes to a catholic school, it costs 2/3 as much as the public school and they are dramatically more likely to graduate and go to college. and the same thing with charter schools across the country. and this is a fight not over more or less, it's a fight or better or worse. and the president has to defend public brock rateses that in many -- bureaucracies that in many cases are worse. >> before you go, you two were chosen for a reason. as much as you love your job and i know you love being governor about the great state of maryland, there's a lot of buzz about you running for president. what advice would you give to governor o'malley? >> raise a lot of money. you have to be prepared. and you'll spend two or three years on the road. mark warner is a great guy to talk about it with. >> are you disappointed about the process?
>> no, this has been a brutal, tough process at least since 1800 and it hasn't gotten less brutal and probably shouldn't. if you're not tough enough to campaign for the presidency, you're not tough enough to be the president. so i have no regrets. it's a wonderful, amazing experience. calista says she learned two big things. people are overwhelmingly nice even if they don't agree with you and money matters. those are her two lessons. >> would you like to be selected to be on the ticket with romney? >> i think that's highly implausible. i have learned the hard way not to ever say no. but i find that as implausible as you find it. >> governor, are you likely to run in 2016? would you wait to see what biden and/or secretary clinton do? >> i haven't thought that far. i'm focused on doing what i'm doing now, which is doing everything in my power to help elect democratic governors like tom barrett in wisconsin where the polls have greatly narrowed. in wisconsin, it's an interesting choice. tom barrett, who has been a mayor, brought people together to solve problems, versus scott
walker, 50th of 50 states in job creation, and the only sitting governor with an active criminal defense fund. so this is going to be an exciting race. >> another side to that story which we'll talk about on our roundtable as well. i'll leave it there. thank you both very much. >> thank you. coming up, our political roundtable. and some of the new polls shows a very tight race. we'll go inside the battlegrounds with the focus on ohio. the mayor of los angeles is here. former chairman and ceo of hewlett-packard carlie if i rona. and david brooks. also, advice for the class of 2012 from maria shriver and best-selling author michael lewis. stay tuned for that. "meet the press" is brought to you by the boeing company. d. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 at charles schwab, that means taking a close look at you tdd# 1-800-345-2550 as well as your portfolio. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 we ask the right questions,
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one of the things we wantete one of the things we want to do between now and election day is go inside the battlegrounds and really focus on the states that will decide the election in the fall. today, ohio. and i want to take you inside ohio as we look at some of the particulars of a state that was so crucial in 2008 will be again. you have the unemployment rate at 7.4%, below the national average. that's important. look at the '08 results it was obama's 52 to mccain's 57. most visited state by the candidates back in 2008. that's likely to also be the case this go around as well. i was in cleveland this past week. there's something of a renaissance going on there economically and that bears importance for this part of the state, typically democratic and it's really where the obama team will focus. what will be the big message? it will be auto bailout with
which the manufacturing base will play out there. the romney team knows that. they understand they'll be up against headwind there and their focus will be in the south, cincinnati and this area, a lot of social conservatives there and they'll have to turn out that vote in order to offset what's going on here. a lot to talk about moving forward including how things stand in the battleground states. look at our latest polling released this week. the maris poll, it's the president's 48 to romney's 42% and they're both below 50 and there's a lot of volatility left and more for the candidates to do there. more on the battlegrounds as we continue. let's bring in our roundtable now. here with us "washington post" columnist" and author of "our divided heart" e.j. dionne and the former chair of hewlett-packard carly fiorina is also with us and the democratic mayor of los angeles antonio villaraigosa. welcome to all of you. the mayor spearheading the return of the great los angeles dodgers as they're off to a great season under terrific new
ownership. but the washington nationals are as well, so my divided heart. my divided sports heart. welcome to all of you here. i want to start, david brooks, where i ended with the governor and speaker. look what we've had so far. we've had the war on women debate and hilary rosen's comments. we've had now this battle over bain. what is fair game in terms of what people ought to be focused on? >> i think it's fair especially if you don't have agenda. we've got deep structural problems. i haven't seen either candidate talk about this. if you ask the american people, does either candidate have a big plan for the future? 36% obama, 31% romney and that's pretty bad. i question the obama decision to go after it to start negative. they decide to focus a negative way and it seems to me self-destructive. people to the -- genuinely like obama, and they admire him and they are starting negative and going extremely tough and extremely hard.
and running ads are that inaccurate. there were a couple of inaccuracies about bain saying that the company was successful until bain took it over. that's false. they said that romney threw people out on the street. romney was gone by then. they said they were loading up debt and dumping them. these companies have no higher default rates than anything else. i think it damages his personal reputation. >> ej? >> first of all, when george bush began his 2004 campaign against john kerry he began the attacks in february and march, so i don't see -- i didn't see any republicans saying the president should never attack his opponents. and secondly, the argument over bain is part of the substantive argument over the future of american capitalism. first, if romney was saying his role as job creator at bain was the prime reason for him to be president, even rush limbaugh has now said no, private equity
companies are not about creating jobs. i think they have made that point. but if you go back in the history, it's one of the things i talk about in my book, we have been arguing over the nature of capitalism from the beginning whether it's hamilton and clay, talking about manufacturing, and hamilton and jackson, the debate on the bank of the united states, or woodrow wilson who warned of the time when the power of finance could be greater than that of government. we're trying to decide what kind of capitalism we want in america. and i think the debate about bain raises legitimate issues over how you should do capitalism in a way that benefits everybody. >> i just don't know that voters, carly, are thinking about the great debate of capitalism. if you're the obama team, what you're saying is this guy, running against me, is a financier. remember what brought on the recession? it was the financiers on wall street. they are the ones that did it. he doesn't get you, middle class
voters. that seems to be what they are after here. >> well, i find the attack surprising from many perspectives. first of all, capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than any economic system in the history of the world. secondly, let us stipulate that the goal is to lift as many people out of poverty. the way you do that, with a job. third, successful companies create jobs. failing companies destroy jobs. i think president obama is indicating what many of us have suspected for some time. he actually doesn't understand how the economy works. bain capital, like many businesses, invested in small start-ups with the goal to make them successful. jobs were created. finally, i find this attack so strange. this was a man, barack obama, who went to the american people and said i am a community organizer. i am an untenured law professor. i am a junior senator who has not completed a single term. i am qualified to be president, but mitt romney, the governor of a major state with 25 years of experience in the private sector is not qualified to be president? i find it a very surprising
argument, and i don't think it's going to work. >> mayor? >> well, look, romney's made bain and his experience at bain. he's claimed as the central plank of his campaign. he said he was a job creator and all the fact check areers have said he didn't create the 100,000 jobs he said he did. he did create a lot of debt and laid off people and made money. he's very good at making money and the question is he good as creating jobs? he put that front and center and the campaign responded to it. it's not an issue of private equity. nobody is questioning the role of private equity. i actually worked in private equity for a couple of years about 10 years ago. what we're questioning is, is he a job creator? no. he wasn't as governor of massachusetts. is he someone who addresses the debt? you heard martin o'malley say that he was -- had the highest
per capita debt of any -- when he left massachusetts of any governor in the state. he -- he gave his successor a billion dollars in debt. so the fact is that he put his record front and center, and we responded to it. >> a lot of this will circle back to the state of the campaign. as we head off into the summer of campaigning, let me show a head to head first, which as it did in ohio, you're still under 50% and the president has a slight edge at 47 to 43, but if you look at the advantage that the president now has, to me it goes to the point of how he's trying to identify and cast governor romney among hispanics, younger voters, westerners, independents, all advantage to the president. and also on that list, seniors, suburban women, and overall in the battle ground states. >> the democrats have huge demographic advantages, which will get bigger over the years. the president has big personal advantages. a couple of disadvantages.
one is europe. europe will end up the big story if greece falls out of the euro and disaster for any incumbents. so that's one of them, and then i think the tenor of the campaign will change. what will happen is that it's going to become the new orleans saints. and what i mean by that is normal competition will turn to bounty hunting and both people in both campaigns will get their juices flowing and they'll take meaner and meaner shots and that will suppress turnout and that will, i think hurt the president more because his favorability ratings are so much higher. >> it does beg a broader question. carly, you have been in the bigger arena. you ran for senate. and here's the cover of "the week" magazine. the targets of bigotry. will billionaires run super pac attacks on race and religion. is this what it takes to get elected at this stage of the game?
>> well, i do think that all of us look at the state of the campaign today, the end of may and believe that it will be both very close and particularly nasty, sadly. i think it is a sad comment when the political argument gets reduced to questioning other people's motives, and frankly, i think president obama has been more guilty of this than anyone else. president obama and vice president biden are continually questioning people's motives, their heart and character. they don't get you. they don't care. it would be so much better, i think, for the american people if political debate was argued on the facts and the merits, not questioning someone's character and motivation. >> well, do you have romney attacking the president for going on an apology tour and not really championing american exceptionalism. so there's a motive question there too. >> there are a whole series of things that governor romney said about obama that is simply not true, the apology tour is one of them.
and i think one of the great dangers in this campaign is how the citizens united decision not only changed the law, but also gave a kind of social green light to all of these super pacs. and the super pac ads are particularly dangerous, because if i attack you with my campaign money, i am accountable for that attack, and you can say that's outrageous, it's untrue. when these nameless groups, committees for good government, put on an ad and say outrageous things, the candidate can sit back and say that's not me. that's someone else and those super pacs will put out hundreds of millions of dollars of ads. i think you're right. i think the president goes in with structural advantages. the difference this time than last time is the president vastly outspent john mccain in the last election. and i think this time from with all of that super pac money coming in from the right, i think it be a real challenge for the president. >> i want to put up romney's
advantages as we look at our own polling. among men, suburbanites, midwesterners, married women, and high-interest voters a slight edge there, but latinos are a huge problem for the republican party right now and our oversampling of latino voters with telemundo, obama has a 61% to 27% advantage. is there anything that changes that advantage? for instance if marco rubio were to be on the ticket, do you think there's any potential for changing that dynamic? >> some potential, not much. vice presidential candidates don't usually give you a big bump. maybe in that state. david said something with respect to president obama's support among ethnics and other demographic groups, and i think it has everything to do with the fact that the republican party has gone so far to the right. we saw that in the election on women taking this to the 1950s and talking about contraception and on the issue of immigration, talking about the south deportation of 11 million people. i don't know a country in the
world that has ever south deported 11 million people. when he said the dream act was a handout. that's out of the mainstream of what most people think. when he failed to stand up and say anything when cain talked about electrifying the border fence. so i think that's a big reason why. it's the policies of the extreme part of their party. but i didn't see -- and i don't think any of us saw governor romney really challenge some of those extreme policies. >> i agree with him here with the republicans and the republicans are completely aware of this. karl rove is trying to do this, and marco rubio is trying and trying very successfully. and i think that will hurt the republicans long-term. maybe not this time historically. when you look historically when you are re-electing an incumbent, there are two things we know. first, it's a referendum, there are rarely choices and the referendum on the record of the
last four years and not the personality of the candidates and so that, when you take that basic structure of reelect races that does hurt obama and then the final thing is when you ask people are you better off than you were four years ago. 35% say yes. and that's pretty bad. >> let me go around the table on a few other items that i wanted to get to quickly. and first occupy, the wisconsin recall election, the milwaukee mayor, tom barrett, taking on scott walker who took on the unions and created huge drama. and you now have a re-election. and, david, i heard you talk about this race as something that will be important for the fall. >> one of the familiarity issues in -- i think it's sort of a test case nationally.
>> the next item up here has to do with trump. donald trump was sticking by some of these questions about whether president obama is really an american citizen. how much damage, ej, getting so close to the flame if you're governor romney, seeking an endorsement and an ally that a lot of people have never quite understood. >> i think if governor romney doesn't put out some very, very clear statement that he distances himself from this birther stuff, i don't know why he is hanging around with donald trump. but the governor romney has not distanced himself from the right wing on anything. he hasn't taken a step back from this new extremism in the republican party. one of the things -- i talk about it in my book is how conservatism used to be a balance between sort of individual concerns and community concerns. conservatives believed there was a role for government. right now, as you're seeing in the scott walker recall, i agree, it's very significant, but i think it's significant in
a different way from david. i think a lot of people in wisconsin are saying, wait a minute. we liked consensual politics in wisconsin where a conservative governor like tommy tomp concacaf never did the kinds of things like this conservative governor is doing. so i think that mitt romney has to step back from this at some point and he hasn't done it yet. >> final item here, the question of colin powell, general powell. will he endorse in this race. it came up in the context of russia and romney, one of his folks says that russia was the biggest strategic threat to the united states. colin powell was on "morning joe" this week on msnbc and had this reaction. >> when governor romney not too long ago said, you know, the russian federation is our number one threat, well, come on, think. it isn't the case. and i don't know whether mitt really feels that or whether -- >> or someone told him to say it. what? >> i don't know. you ask him. >> so are you -- >> it's been catching a lot of
heck from these -- the more regular gop foreign affairs community. we are kind of taken aback by it. >> carly, quickly, is foreign affairs going to be a target of opportunity for republicans against this president? >> well, certainly foreign affairs is on the minds of average americans. especially at memorial day, when we think about the sacrifices of so many men and women in uniform and their families. i think colin powell, a good friend of mine, is an independent man and he'll make up his mind when he decides to. however, i think what governor romney probably intended was it is true that we have the most unsettled relationship with russia right now. and we have a leader of russia whose motivations are to put it kindly unclear, who has a very clear history. >> all right. we're going to leave it there. thank you all very much. we'll take another break here. when we come back, a special
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intention, have a conversation with your heart, and then always take the high road. >> sage advice from maria shriver as the class of 2012 graduates and prepares to enter such an uncertain world, i wanted to reach out to two celebrated voices in our culture and two highly sought-after commencement speakers. you just heard from maria shrivers who addressed the university of southern california annenberg school of communications and journalism. also joining me, best-selling author of so many books, including "money ball," "boomerrang," and one of my personal favorites, michael lewis. thank you for being here. >> thanks for having us. >> maria, let's pick up on that piece of the commencement address that you gave. the power of pause. what was the advice that you thought was so important for graduates to hear, including
someone in the audience who was extra special? >> my daughter was in that graduating class. i think we're in a rush, all of us to go out, and to be first in every business we're in a rush and i wanted to tell these young people, they're going out to uncertain times and they know that far better than most of us and it's okay to pause, and it's okay not to know the answer, that question everybody is asking them, what are you going to do? what's your job? how much are you making? and the concept of pausing throughout life is a very powerful concept, i think. and there's so much outward communication,i wanted to talk about the benefit of communicating inwardly with yourself throughout your life. and you have to pause to do that. >> it's interesting, michael, because there is so much emphasis on the individual graduate as he or she goes off into the world and not enough emphasis on the idea of becoming part of a team and a sense of shared purpose, which i think resonates with a lot of young people. >> i think that's true. i think maria's point is very
well taken. i think -- you know, i've actually only done a few of these commencement speeches. and each time i do them, i wonder a bit whether anyone's listening. and i do kind of -- i'm a little skeptical about the power of words on these ears. i think back, and i'm actually giving a talk i supposedly heard 30 years ago when i graduated from princeton and not only do i not remember the talk or the speaker, i don't remember the event even happening, and i'm thinking of what i'm telling these people and it's quite possible that i will be the only one who remembers what i said, no matter what i say. but it's -- you know, when you sit and you kind of think, what do you tell people to make a difference in their lives as they are going out into the world, i think this sort of business of backing away from the pressures, from not accepting that you have to do
anything right when you walk out the doors of the university, and sort of leaving yourself open to some weird risks at that stage of your life, is a pretty good message, because it is sort of the point in your life when you're 21, 22 years old, when you're most likely to take youthful risks. as you get older, you take fewer and fewer of them. so i'll probably take that as my theme, but i doubt anybody is going to pay close attention. >> well, i don't know. maria, have i only done a few of them, and i what strikes me time and time again is a get up there and i think i'm not that much older than these graduates. and then i realize, a, yes, i am. b, i have more in common with their parents than i do them. and then i get very emotional because i think about my own kids. and that what seems to overtake me. >> well, when they play the pomp and circumstance, you get very emotional. and i actually almost burst into tears in the speech because i talked about being in awe at my
first child graduating from college. but i think that there are a lot of people our age who are speaking to these young people who have something very much in common. there are millions of people who are having to start over again. in their lives, who are having to reimagine their lives, who are having to take incredible risks, who are having to do things they never imagined. so i think we're all kind of in this together in many ways, depending on our age. you know, there are so many women who are finding themselves in the position of being breadwinners, caretakers, nurturers, and upon droing out of jobs -- dropping out of jobs, reinvent themselves. i think as a nation we are having to redefine what we're doing, and we're all having to step back and say, i might have to take a risk i never imagined. so i look for common ground with these young graduates. they may are younger, but i think we are all kind of starting out on a path in many ways that has no kind of clear direction to it. and that's scary and exciting.
>> you know, it is scary and exciting. michael, the other thing is it feeds into the point you made about risk. and it's something that you talked about as a commencement speaker at drew university in 2010. everybody says, you know, do what you love. this was your advice. >> the challenge for you, i think, today is to find what you love and do it before you figure out how much that love is going to cost you. >> what did you mean by that? >> yes. you know, it is -- it's -- it's something that i -- you get dragged into these things because you're supposed to provide some sort of role model for them, i think. and in a funny way, i think these speeches are misconceived. i think they probably benefit more from negative examples. if they had, say, if princeton would bring back in white collar criminals oreg some disgraced
politicians to explain don't do what i do. that might have more effect. but i got brought up to sort of explain how i got to where i am, doing this thing that i like to do. and i tell them, look, there was a moment in my life where i was not much older than you where the price to do what i wanted to do seemed very, very high. the financial price. and if i was not 25 years old, i would not have gone and done it because i didn't really figure out how high the price was at that time. 10 years later, i never would have made the decision i made to do what i wanted to do because it would have seemed like it cost too much. and so i -- you know, i sort of insistently said to them, look, this is the moment where you can pay that price because you don't really know what it is. so go for it. you know, this is your -- maybe your one shot when you come out of here. so don't blow it by jumping at money, by doing the things that
everybody thinks you should do because it seems successful. figure out where your heart is and try to go with that. >> maria, i want to come back and perhaps end on this point of the inner journey that you talked about off the top. and there was one commencement speaker back in 1994 who i think is pretty near and dear to your heart, and that is your late father, sergeant shriver. and this is what he said in part. he said, i am a man of consequence, the sergeant shriver known everywhere as maria shriver's father. he went on, the first thing i've learned is this. it's not what you get out of life that counts. it's what you give. and what is given to you from the heart. and at another part he said, i have one small word of advice because it's going to be tough, break your mirrors. yes, indeed, shatter the glass. in our society that is so self absorbed, look less at yourself and more at each other.
learn more about the face of your neighbor and less about your own. >> i think that's very valuable advice. and it can be given by somebody like my father who was a very deeply religious, deeply spiritual man. but i find more and more people that i talk to are redefining what success means in their lives. and they are going within to ask those questions. michael talked about changing course in his career. you can only do that, i think, if you step back and really have a conversation with yourself about what makes you happy, how you define success. and for -- and be courageous enough to say, maybe i don't define it in the way that's going to get me on the cover of "people" magazine or on the cover of "time" magazine, but it works for me. and that might be in serving people, taking care of your family, having time to coach a little league game. and so i think people are in the process of redefining what success means. and i think that's a really great thing. and i think you can only do that if you break the mirror, pause,
step back, take a beat, and talk to your heart. >> michael lewis, whether you think the kids are listening or not, i'm sure as a dad you get up there and you are thinking about these big thoughts and thinking about your own kids at the same time. >> you know, mainly i'm hoping that if i give the princeton commencement speech, princeton will feel obliged to admit them. [ laughter ] >> exactly. which is -- >> no, won't happen. >> thank you both. great to have you both. i appreciate it. >> thank you, thank you. >> thank you. and before we go, a programming note. we're going to re-air on msnbc today at 2:00 p.m. and again tomorrow at 6:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon. again, that's on msnbc tomorrow. also, check out my interview with ashley judd on our website. it's our press pass this week. that is all for today. we'll be back next week. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." and as we leave you this memorial day weekend, we honor and remember all of the men and women who have given their lives to this nation. god bless our troops and their
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right now on msnbc, heavy rain and heavy winds from tropical storm beryl as it makes landfall overnight, making for a memorial day mess for parts of florida and georgia. full coverage for you. bain bandwagon? the debate continues over president obama's campaign against bain. but do democrats support that strategy? and honoring our fallen troops on this memorial day 2012. hi, everybody. great to have you with me today. i'm thomas roberts. right now, tropical storm beryl
is battering parts of florida and georgia after making landfall overnight. drenching rain and 50 mile an hour winds are pounding parts of the southeast. now, some areas could get as much as a foot of rain today. the weather channel's jim cantore has the latest from st. simons island in georgia for us. jim? >> reporter: good morning, thomas. winds still gusting at over 35 miles per hour here. this time from a different direction. storms onshore, that means our winds are coming from the southeast out of the water. so really nothing to block it. basically what we have here on the beach, where all the debris has come up. i'd say about 150 to 200 feet from where it was. and pretty much all the way to the dun line through here. at the time of high tide last night. we may see more of that today at high tide, about 1:00 this afternoon. but all in all, i think we really dodged one here, at least on st. simons. the further south you go, cumberland, amelia island, towards jacksonville, that's where the worst of it is, and certainly we continue to hear about the power outages this morning.
but the good news is a lot of the power outages are coming online pretty quickly, which leads me to believe this is probably branchs that have been on lines as opposed to whole poles that have snapped off, because we just didn't have that ferocious of winds. the strongest wind gusts have been right on the beaches this morning as we will continue to get. there is still moist tower come with this thing. some rain bands will produce locally heavy rains as far north as savannah. still tropical storm warnings up on the northern georgia and florida coast as the strong wind bands will continue now that beryl has come ashore. back to you. >> jim, thanks so much. and we'll keep you posted on that storm this morning. speaking of gathering storming, moving to politics now where democrats are getting behind the president's strategy to go after mitt romney over his time at bain capital. "the washington post" interviewed party leaders who say they are onboard. something reiterated by robert gibbs on "face the nation" yesterday. >> i don't think you need
polling to understand why people have a visceral reaction to mitt romney's time as head of bain capital. and let's be clear. this is the central and only point that mitt romney brings up that in the words of his campaign would make him an economic saviour for this country. >> joining me now, nbc news political analyst and former pennsylvania governor ed rendell. great to see you this morning. and listening to robert gibbs, i want to get your reaction to find out if it's visceral or not about mitt romney's time at bain capital. i know you have expressed some concern over this line of attack. >> sure. i think it's a proper line of attack. it's appropriate as robert gibbs said. it's been the whole reason that romney says he should be elected president. he can solve the economy. proof of that, not his time as governor of massachusetts because their job creation numbers were terrible, i think 47th in the country, but because of what he did at bain capital. so did it net job?
did it lose jobs? but even more importantly, i think the second issue -- that's the first issue, did it get jobs, produce jobs. the second issue is, is it the type of value system that you want the president of the united states to have? and i give you one example, robert. amped. there were 350 workers. it went bankrupt, went out of business. sometimes you and i know it's inevitable. sometimes private equity fails. the workers lost their jobs. but the investors took $100 million out. the workers also lost most of their pension and retiree health care benefits. did anybody think to ask the investors, hey, guys, let's take $80 million out in profit. that's a thighs profit. and let's leave $20 million so these workers can have their pensions, or at least a substantial pension, workers who worked for the company and gave their all. that's a value question, and i think that's worth asking. >> when we look at it from that type of standpoint, governor, this was all about business and
the bottom line. bain can say that there was a byproduct in certain instances where there was job creation. however, this really was about profit making for the uber rich, the investors that had deposited their money with bain. but as we look at the democrats that near virginia, in colorado, is there a risk of alienating the independents out there, as robert gibbs brings up this visceral reaction that people could have to this, especially to the business-minded independents? is that something that the campaign should be a little more worried about? >> well, sure. and that's why it has to be done right, and that's why i said the original ads which had the second worker calling bain and mitt romney vampires, that's inappropriate, just as it was when republican governor rick perry called it vulture capitalism. but if governor romney had said i know how to create wealth, that was my job at bain capital, nobody could have argued with him. but i think what the president is saying and what democrats are saying, don't tell us you know how to create jobs because that
wasn't the motive for bain capital. it was to create wealth. we're not certain you netted out job creation, number two. and number three, some of the value choices you made. i mean, i don't know about you, thomas, and i'm not a goodie two shoes. but if i had the choice of taking $80 million out, a lot of money in profit for me and investors, but leaving $20 million in so people could have some form of pension, some security in their old age, people that worked hard for the company, i think i would have made that choice. >> i also want to get your take on something else, because mitt romney has an event in las vegas where he'll be appearing with donald trump tomorrow. but here was george will's take on that. i want you to hear this and get your reaction. >> the cost of appearing with this bloviating ignoreamus is obvious, is teems to me. he is redundant evidence that if your net income is very high your iq can still be very low.
>> george will will not be appearing on the next season of "celebrity apprentice." but what do you think about that and mitt romney's appearance with donald trump tomorrow in las vegas? >> well, i think bloviating ignoramus is great. but i think that voters know that candidates appear with a whole slew of different people. nobody will vote for or against governor romney because he appears with donald trump. does it enhance the idea that governor romney is the rich man candidate? sure, because donald trump is not shy about talking about his wealth and the things he's done. but i don't think in the end it makes much of a difference. you know, is it important to raise money? obviously, yeah. too important in american politics. and thanks to citizens united, which i believe is the worst decision since dread scott, money, i think, has a possibility of dominating this fall election.
but i think in the end, he's not going to lose votes or gain votes because he appeared with donald. >> sir, great to see you this morning. >> thanks, thomas. have a great day. this morning, president obama will mark memorial day in virginia and washington, d.c. the commander in chief will thank those who sacrificed their lives for freedom. nbc's kristin welker is at the white house for us this morning. >> reporter: good morning, thomas. well, president obama and the first lady will be attending memorial day events at arlington national cemetery, and at the vietnam veterans memorial wall to mark the 50th anniversary of the start of the vietnam war. the president and first lady will also be spending time with veterans today as well as gold star families. those are families who have lost loved ones to one of the wars. now, mitt romney will also be marking this memorial day. he will be attending a memorial day ceremony out in san diego with senator john mccain. by the way, senator john mccain was very critical of president
obama's foreign policy over the weekend. he called it feckless, saying that the obama administration should be doing more to stop what's happening in syria right now. the obama campaign has of course been out defending its foreign policy, talking about the fact that they are drawing down the wars in iraq and afghanistan. you know, today is an important day to remember that the veterans vote is going to play a big role in this 2012 election. president obama lost the veterans vote back in 2008. recent polls show that he actually has a narrow lead over mitt romney, but both candidates have been courting veteran voters because that vote could make a big difference in some swing states like virginia. president obama has been out talking about the fact that he has enacted a number of policies that he says has helped veterans find work. right now he is pressing congress to pass tax breaks for companies that hire veterans.
that's part of his to-do list. and of course, mitt romney has also been out talking about the ways in which he would help veterans. so as both candidates are marking this memorial day, it is also important to remember they care a lot about courting the veterans vote as well. thomas? >> kristen welker at the white house. thank you. still ahead other another high profile politician takes center stage in the uk hacking scandal. why former british prime minister tony blair is in the hot seat this morning. and one racer can't catch a break, repeating history at the indy 500. plus, the politics of afghanistan. defense secretary leon panetta responds to mitt romney and republicans critical of the exit strategy there.
former british prime minister tony blair is being grilled in court. these are live pictures of that questioning taking place right now. and he is testifying about his links to rupert murdoch and the phone hacking scandal that has embroiled murdoch's media empire. blair was under scrutiny about his media ties, including an active courting of the embattled media tycoon. >> with certain parts of the media, the press becomes not merely politically partisan in their comment or editorial line, but in their news coverage. then it becomes all the more important, and that's why i used the word "crucial," that you try and prevent yourself becoming an object of that attack. emfmi emphatically, this is not confined to the murdoch media. to syria now, united nations special envoy kofi annan arrived this morning to meet with syrian president assad.
now the united nations on sunday condemned the killing of more than 100 people in the town of hala on friday. hundreds of people were treated for heat related illnesses at the indianapolis 500 on sunday. the temps there reached 91 degrees on the speedway. that's one degree short of an all-time high. organizers relaxed the rules to allow ice and coolers in the stands, and set up misting stations and air conditioned buses helping the people there to cool off. it was this crash, though, by driver mike conway in the final lap that handed scottish driver dario franchitti his third indy win. conway wasn't hurt but crashed in forly the same spot as two years ago. in san francisco, an icon there marking quite a milestone there. the golden gate bridge is turning 75. thousands of people flocked to the bridge on sunday for a fireworks celebration. nearly 2 billion vehicles have travelled over the famous span
since it opened to traffic may 28 in 1937. beautiful bridge it is. tropical storm beryl is the strongest storm to hit the u.s. in may in over 100 years. so how much rain can the southeast expect? that forecast straight ahead. and on this memorial day, we look at the politics of the war in afghanistan and how the approximate the's exit strategy will play out at the polls come november. my wife, and my family. i have the most common type of atrial fibrillation, or afib. it's not caused by a heart valve problem. i was taking warfarin, but my doctor put me on pradaxa instead to reduce my risk of stroke. in a clinical trial, pradaxa® (dabigatran etexilate mesylate) reduced stroke risk 35% better than warfarin. and unlike warfarin, with pradaxa, there's no need for regular blood tests. that's really important to me. pradaxa can cause serious, sometimes fatal, bleeding. don't take pradaxa if you have abnormal bleeding and seek immediate medical care for unexpected signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising.
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and welcome back, everybody, to msnbc. our some memorial day coverage. a live look at arlington national cemetery. a beautiful day in washington, d.c., where the president will be there at 11:30 a.m. for services there. it was a different picture last night in washington, d.c., when a storm came in, and the annual national memorial day concert at the nation's capital was cut short because of that bad weather.
natalie cole, trace adkins, and jessica sanchez took to the stage to honor the troops. natalie cole was the last to perform before they had to go ahead and cancel the rest of the show and ask the invited attendees on the lawn to leave for their own safety. the event was hosted by actors gary sinse and joe mon-tanya. has a best-in-class driving range of more than 550 miles per tank. so you can catch morning tee time in monterey and the afternoon meeting in los angeles, all without running out of gas. just make sure you don't run out of gas. ♪
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as the nation pauses to remember the fallen this memorial day, a recent pugh research study shows that 33% of post-9/11 veterans say that neither of the wars in iraq and afghanistan were worth the actual cost. and i'm joined now by colonel jack jacobs and the recipient of the congressional medal of honor. jack, great to see you.
i want to get straight to these results. what does this study say to you, approximate telling you about the gap between those on the ground and those reflecting on 33% on the two wars saying that the cost wasn't worth it? >> well, i think you make a good point about the difference between actually fighting in the war and what you're thinking there and what happens when you have got a few minutes to actually think about it. when we fought in vietnam, we didn't care what was taking place back in the states. and all of the politics involved and so on. we were fighting for each other, fighting to accomplish the mission, fighting for the country. and the same thing is true of the troops who have been in our wars more recently. but once you come home, once you have 10 or 15 minutes to think about it all, you realize often that huge political mistakes were made, huge military mistakes were made, and you really question the intelligence, the focus, the objectives of the people who actually make the decisions to send you off to war. and that's what's happened in
this case too. >> jack, as we look at a new report from the associated press, it says that the newest generation of vets are the most mentally and medically troubled. is the current administration, the obama administration, moving in the right direction to address these concerns and what it means for returning vets and their future? >> well, the person who runs the -- who is the secretary of veterans affairs, rick shinseki, a former army chief of staff and himself wounded in vietnam, has done a great deal to improve the care of veterans, the people who are under his care. we have lots of veterans from former wars, including world war ii. and so we've got a lot to care for. and there are great improvements in care, but not nearly as much as what needs to take place. and a large bit of this revolves around the failure to take care of troops revolves around money. and quite frankly, an environment in which the defense department and all government is trying desperately to cut costs. i think you're going to not
necessarily see any improvement in the care of veterans in the next couple of years or so, and it all revolves around money. there's focus there. people want to do a good job but can't get themselves organized as they are currently funded. >> jack, as we look back on the vietnam war, and here we are decades later and how history remembers that war itself and what it did to a generation of young men, what do you think that history will look back upon what has happened in iraq and afghanistan, how history will reflect on this come 40 or 50 years time? >> well, i view afghanistan and iraq as being completely different. we did good work in afghanistan at the beginning when we sent the taliban packing, and then we ignored afghanistan and then went to iraq. and that was a big mistake. in the interim, afghanistan then deteriorated. now trying to make it into something better than it was is going to be extremely difficult. so i think those two wars are going to be viewed differently.
but in general, i think the history is not going to be very kind to the way the united states used its scarce american resource of the military instrument of power. we tried to do it on the cheap, with as few people as possible, because we didn't want to go into the well of having a draft. we wanted to have an all volunteer service. and we managed to do it, but at enormous cost. enormous cost to the country and to the troops themselves. and you're going to see the results of this in years to come, when all of the people who have served in the military during these wars get a little bit older, and a lot of the manifestations of the difficulties in fighting these wars will become apparent as the veterans age. >> jack, as we talk about memorial day and what it means to certain people, what does it mean to you? >> well, people ask me, what do i think on memorial day? and i happen to be in
indianapolis today, where i was at the race. and you could feel the patriotism and feel how much the country really regards its troops. we had lots of them marching down pit lane, and it was really a sight to behold. and you could actually touch the patriotic feelings. that's on memorial day. but i think about the troops every day. and people who have served in combat don't wait until memorial day or veterans day to think about people with whom they served who served the country and have now gone, who aren't here to talk about what they did, actually did it -- all of us veterans, all of us, represent those men and women who served us and didn't come back, or who served and suffered terribly. we should think about the veterans not just on veterans day but every day. >> colonel jack jacobs, great to see you this morning. thank you, sir. >> my pleasure. florida and georgia
residents are waking to drenching rains this morning. tropical storm beryl made landfall in northern florida just after midnight. look at the winds in these images. the storm could bring as much as a foot of rain. powerful winds already knocked out power to parts of georgia. todd santos has been following and is joining us now with more. >> right now we are talking about a 50 mile per hour tropical storm moving to the west at 8 miles per hour. the issue for the folks on the coastline is they have closed a number of beaches even on the south carolina coast. it doesn't look like much on the satellite picture, and many of you may step outside and say it doesn't look bad at all. however, rip current risk is one of the biggest issues on the coastline. and as the thunderstorms make their way onshore, you'll see the gustier winds. and you can see the winds approaching the low country of south carolina, and it's really a chance to get gusts upwards of 50. and just a couple of hours ago, a gust up to 48 at the jacksonville naval station there. the system right now is still a
tropical storm, and it is over land. would not be surprised about 30 minutes from now or early in the afternoon that we could see some slow weakening. as we get into tomorrow morning, you're still dealing with at that point a tropical depression. but still also the heavy rainfall. and it's coming into the area of the country where we badly need at drought relief, maybe just not so much on the holiday where folks have outdoor plans. beyond that, through wednesday and thursday, and it may have a chance of restrengthening as it gets off the outer banks. but notice the track for tuesday and wednesday, still some of the beaches impacted with the heavy showers and the thunderstorm potential. the system is likely to hold itself together, because what's going to pull it out of the way is not enough to really tear it apart. it will be one that we're dealing with the next couple of days. and down through central and southern florida, a lot of folks there will be dealing with this system. mainly on the thunderstorms that roll onshore from the west coast of florida, believed even deal with some isolated severe thunderstorms. something to keep in mind there. up towards the midwest, chicago down through central wisconsin, even iowa and kansas city,
chances for thunderstorms throughout this piece of the country. make sure you have a way to get your warnings today. would not be surprised to see a repeat of yesterday with strong wind and hail producing storms. that could cause some issues with severe thunderstorms. even some tornadoes yesterday. make sure you have a way to get your warnings there. northeast, doesn't look like much right now. a few light showers in the new york tristate. could see more this afternoon even up towards boston. so everyone out there keep your eyes on the skies and stay safe today. >> thank you, todd. there is some new information about to talk about in the case of a connecticut man lost at sea on his honeymoon. it happened seven years ago. you'll probably remember that george smith went overboard while on his honeymoon in 2005. the fbi investigation into his death is still open. "greenwich" magazine has exclusive details about new evidence that may lead to an arrest.
explain to all of us -- you said yourself this is a story with a lot of twists and turns. what's the new evidence that may lead to an arrest? >> well, good morning. there is a bunch of new evidence going on here. one of the probably biggest and most exciting pieces that really is going to hopefully help push this case forward is the existence of a videotape that is in the possession of the fbi. on that videotape there are certain individuals that make very self incriminating statements following the death of george smith. >> crystal, when you talk about videotape, this is not surveillance video from the actual ship. this is something shot after the event itself? >> no, that is correct. this is a videotape that the gentlemen made of themselves. and in their room, sort of passing around a flip phone. >> so lots of people remember this. this was a beautiful young couple on their honeymoon. this was such a horrific incident. there was, you know, correlations, though, or kind of scandalous questions brought up
about what this couple was doing that night, how much both parties had been drinking, and things trying to make them look somehow as if he deserved this in some way, shape, or form. the family has disputed that. the wife has moved on. even gotten a settlement. how is the family responding to this new information that you're working on? >> the family is obviously thrilled about this new information, and they have been working very carefully with a greenwich based attorney, mike jones, who in large part has been responsible for helping to push this forward and making sure that this evidence does get into the right hands, which now it has. and, yeah, there's been a lot of misconceptions, a lot of inconsistency with this case. and i think that's what we tried to do and why we tried to get in the game at this point, put all of that stuff to rest, and really start talking about what did happen and helping to put the pieces of the puzzle together. and, you know, exonerate the people that should be exonerated and put a little bit of a light on people who maybe should be
looked at more closely. >> when you talk about the family, explain the relationship between george smith's parents and his wife. >> at this point, i think everybody's sort of moved on. i think it's, you know, as you said, jennifer has moved on. she is also living in connecticut. i don't -- you know, i think they are just living their own lives. >> if you were to guess, hazard a guess as to when we may hear of an arrest or arrests are made, what timetable would you suggest? >> i really at this point don't know. and the people that i have spoken with, the hope is that because of this tape, and because of the fact that they are trying to get the case transferred from the connecticut fbi to the new york fbi, which is a good sign on a lot of levels. one, it shows that two of the targets that they are looking at do indeed live in new york. so it shows they are trying to push it forward in that way. and that this tape is out there, and the information is out there that this tape exists. so hopefully, you know, i would say hopefully soon. >> it's certainly a case that
gripped the attention of the american people. and i can imagine for the smith family, it will be nice if they can find some forward motion and see justice in all of this. but we'll continue to watch. kristin, thank you for your coverage this morning. this memorial day, we take a look at the efforts being made to help our returning vets find jobs when they come home from war. how does it look on the front to find jobs when they get back to the states? a full examination after this. [ male announcer ] you sprayed them. thought they were dead. [ laughter ] [ grunting ] huh?
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a staggering 45% of the 1.6 million vets from the wars in iraq and afghanistan are now seeking compensation for injuries they say are service related. joining me now is lieutenant colonel rob waldman, a retired fighter pilot and author of the book "never fly solo." we appreciate you joining us. and i want to ask as a combat veteran who left the military and successfully then pursued a career in business, how did your experience as a fighter pilot help you in your business career, and how did those people that were looking to hire you view that background for you? >> well, the thing about being a fighter pilot is i realized that you can't survive on your own. you need wingmen to win. the men and women in your life who help you dodge the missiles of adversity and change. obviously, i was in combat. my wingmen were very critical to allow me to succeed in working as a team to win. and when i decided to leave the military and join the business world, i went out and found a ment
mentor. i remembered dwight hawkesworth in georgia. former fighter pilot, businessman. i picked up the phone and found somebody to help me in my transition. so realizing that you can't fly solo in this complicated business world transition that you're experiencing as a veteran is so important. find a mentor. it's what i did. and that was step number one to allow me to accomplish success and transition to the business world. >> when you talk about this transition, explain to everybody, did you then initiate the dreams that you had wanted to do that maybe you put on hold to be a fighter pilot for your country? did you come back and embrace those former dreams, or did you have to reinvent exactly what business avenues you wanted to pursue coming back? >> it was a little bit of both. i love flying jets. the excitement, the thrill, the teamwork. it was the coolest job in the world. but what i wanted was more creativity, the ability to make more of a difference socially and personally. so i think that having that mindset was important to me. i love the business world. and i just wanted to get in
sales and do some other things that were important in my life. but i think you have to take control of your own career. i got a mentor. i hit the books. i studied the business world. veterans in transition need to realize that they can't expect the companies who they want to get jobs with to track them out. or to track them down. they have to find the jobs. they have to study the environment. i call it getting a mini mba. so hit the books. contact a mentor. learn the business of the civilian world that you're about to enter in. do the same things that you did to allow yourself success in the military to allow yourself to succeed in the business world. >> rob, when you talk about finding that mentor, what is the best advice for finding the right person that fits the direction of where you want to go? obviously, you're talking about trying to find those mentors that are outside of the military services. but then again, they could be somebody within the military services that you admire as well with the right contacts and
connections. >> well, using your network. i call it wing working. that's so important. social media, linkedin, facebook. reach out to those folks and find organizations who have veterans or former military in that organization. reach out to them. you know, this concept of volunteerism, this concept of patriotism, of giving back, it doesn't end when you take off this uniform. that's what's great about america. we have people who are really out there making a difference and not necessarily wearing a uniform for their country. >> you also said you wanted to be more creative. did you ever imagine yourself becoming an author? you ended up penning a book. >> well, it was a great gift. i have a lot of philosophies, overcoming fear, courage, working as a team. and the more i spoke about it to businesses the more i realized i wanted to get it down on paper. and it was a great opportunity for me. you never know where your career is going to go. and just being open to that is
important. the entrepreneurial world is very, very -- a huge asset for a lot of these veterans in transition. the corporate world is one inspect. being an entrepreneur, getting into franchise businesses, starting your own company, also very good as well. >> rob, congratulations on all the success that you have had and created for yourself after serving your country. thank you, sir. >> you got it. and thank you to the troops who have served as well. for many military families, memorial day is a reminder that loved ones are still fighting a war in afghanistan. and on sunday, defense secretary leon panetta defended our timetable for withdrawal. take a listen. >> you've got 50 nations in nato that agree to a plan in afghanistan. it's the lizman agreement. that is the plan that has been agreed to. and it's a plan that is working. and very frankly, the only way to get this accomplished in
terms of the transition that we have to go through is to be able to set the kind of timelines that have been set here. >> i want to bring in hotline senior editor sean sullivan and "washington post" political reporter felicia somez. felicia, i want to start with you. foreign affairs has become a larger part of the presidential campaign certainly in recent months. and we have heard mitt romney and other republican leaders take issue with the how of exiting afghanistan. how do you think this will all play out on the trail and as we ramp up to the debates this fall? >> what's interesting to note here is that there are many issues on which republicans can ding the president for having failed to live up to his promises. on the economy, for instance, the unemployment rate is certainly not where the white house would like to see it. but when it comes to afghanistan and iraq and foreign policy in general, these are areas where the president i think can rightfully make the case he has lived up to the expectations that he set out when he first took office.
30% of respondents in a recent poll have said that they do not believe that the war in afghanistan has been worth fighting. i think that is a point that backs up the president's claim here that the defense secretary is claiming that this timeline is worth keeping to, this 2014 date. and i think public opinion is definitely on the side of the white house here. the question may come down the line when it comes to defense cuts and those have been sort of an issue that's been more put in light here because of congress and what they've done. but that's maybe an area that mitt romney could have a bit of leeway. but overall, i think it's an area that definitely favors the president. >> is afghanistan this political positive for the promise with the surge and the success of promising to leave that nation, certainly twith the u.s. experiencing its full share of war fatigue? >> the president views it that way. you look at public poll after public poll, and the reality is that the public does not have an
appetite for this war. this war has been going on, you know, since the months after the september 11, 2001, attacks, well over a decade. you know, a lot of money spent on this. and the public is certainly in line with the president and the administration to end this operation by 2014. we saw the president at the nato summit earlier this month. he has international support. so i think the public is very much in line with the president and the administration on this issue. and a large part of the public would like to see this operation end perhaps even sooner than the 2014 timeline that the administration has set out. >> felicia, let's talk more about the politics of washington and the pentagon. dig deeper on something you brought up about the budget cuts, the sequester. take a look at this. this is the picture that secretary panetta painted on sunday. >> if sequester takes place, it would be disastrous for our national defense and very frankly for a lot of very important domestic programs. >> so let's talk about this in the short-term. before the election, is there
going to be any forward movement on this issue on the hill? >> it looks like there won't be any movement on that, thomas. from both sides of the isle, harry reid on the democrat sides he has drawn a firm line and believes if there is no alternative drafted by both parties on capitol hill he would allow the sequester to go forward. he is sort of digging in his heels and saying, we need to create some alternative. otherwise, this is going to happen. on the republican side, they are saying this is absolutely not going to happen. and the house speaker, john boehner, i think has been in a tough spot because when it sequester very first came up around last august during the debt ceiling deal, boehner sort of said, if the super committee fails, that of course was the group of 12 lawmakers that failed to reach agreement in november, if they didn't come up with an agreement he would feel morally bound to abide by this cut. in the past couple of months he has changed his tune and said we must not let this go through. but to answer the question about november, i don't see anything
or hear anything from people on the hill suggesting there will actually be some kind of bipartisan meeting of leaders to move this forward. i think this is something that's going to happen along with taxmagetton and the other things that will be in the lame duck session this fall. >> real quickly, do you think that there's room for compromise or do you agree with felicia on the date line that's projected? >> i think that's pretty much spot on. >> all right. sean sullivan -- sean, what a brief, good answer. i like that. >> have to be brief on a holiday. >> sean sullivan, thank you so much. felicia, thank you as well. we'll be back after this. stick around.
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welcome back, everybody. today on memorial day, we honor the men and the women who have given their lives in service to our country. but this holiday is also a time to pay tribute to the soldiers who are fighting in wars abroad right now. eric leion is a first lieutenan serving in the war in afghanistan and joins us this
morning. eric, great to have you here, and first of all, i want to start by saying thank you for being with us, thank you for your service to our nation. explain to all of us, i know you've only been in afghanistan for a short time and this is your first memorial day serving, but what does it mean to you and your fellow troops as we remain a country at war? >> first of all, mr. roberts, thank you for the opportunity to be here with you, it's very much appreciated. our mission over here, specifically, it's to provide troops. we are part of the withdrawal element for afghanistan. where right now where the rubber meets the the road, we're sending equipment, vehicles, and supplies back home to the united states. it puts us at an interesting point given the current policy back home. >> first lieutenant, i've got somebody kind of special here with me on set, it is your wife melissa, you can peak over this way, melissa, if you want to get
a better look at your hubby there. i know you guys haven't seen each other in a couple of months, and you do skype. what does it mean to you to see eric? you haven't had an opportunity to see or talk to him for five weeks. >> it's so great, hi, babe. >> hey, honey, i don't have a video feed, but it's great to hear your voice. >> i'm so proud of him and it's so special to see him right now and it means a lot. >> when we talk about, and we've been trying to work on this for everybody at home, we've been working on this reunion throughout the hour, making sure we got the shot just right, melissa's been sitting here, graciously waiting patiently to have this time together. and eric, she's been hearing me do interviews with a lot of our special guests that we've had today. melissa, i want to ask you as eric has been away for over two months, this is his first time abroad serving in afghanistan, we're talking about the troop
drawdown there can coming oming end of 2014. what kind of stress does this put on you. you're a new wife, you've only been married under two years, the stress this puts on you and your relationship as a young wife who's back here at home? >> i mean, obviously, it's difficult. it's difficult being a newly married couple in general, so it's stressful at times, but it's nice being able to talk to him and, you know, when we can get to talk on the phone, it's just -- i think we realize the importance of having such a strong relationship, especially when he's overseas, so i keep that in mind and it makes the time go by a lot faster. >> eric, you have to know, you have a very proud wife back here in the states. she was telling me all about you in rotc, went to nyu, and then you were commissioned for the army. tell us about the experience of afghanistan, what you've seen over the short period of time that you've been there and also about when do you believe you'll be coming back home?
>> well, to answer your question, memorial day is a very special time, even over here. and it's special to us, because it's a time to remember and honor our fallen brothers and sisters. you know, back home, i think of barbecues, but over here it brings on the true meaning of the holiday. let's see, being separated from my wife, that definitely is a challenge, but at the same time, it helps our relationship grow, the soldiers i'm, we're all new york national guard and i think that's a very special bond we share. i would really like to tell the public back at home it's amazing. i work with active duty reservists, sailors, civilians, civilian contractors, afghans. the amount of teamwork over here towards the common purpose is incredibly impressive, sir. >> and eric, do you know when you're going to be coming home? do you have any timetable yet that we can give melissa a big surprise if with we have a date? >> it should be some time next year and as soon as i know for sure, without a doubt, she'll be
the first to know. >> all right. well, we hope you guys get to skype a little better, eric, so you can see your beautiful wife next time face-to-face. but i know, melissa, this has been fun for you. >> wonderful, thank you so much. >> and he looks good, right? >> he looks great. >> thanks! >> eric, thanks again, appreciate your time and your service. melissa, thank you for allowing us to share in this happy memorial day reunion. and again, our thanks to this lovely couple. so we're going to move on. because if you're looking to stay amused this summer, there's plenty of options now open for business. get this, there are 400 amusement parks open for the summer season this memorial day weekend and more than 135 new rides making their debut, including 20 new roller coasters. my next guest is a travel expert who's written a book on this very subject. peter trubco joins me now with more on this. peter, before we talk about planning some of those family trips to some of those tysites,
want to talk about some of the roller coasters. this looks nothing like the rickety old comet i liked. >> the sky rush is actually a very tall swing, 200 feet high, 75 miles an hour, absolutely amazing ride. it's brand new to hershey park. of course, they are well known for the industry as far as having really great rides, as well as great chocolate. it's a great place to go. and a lot of people love these new type of rides. there's also a similar one called sky screamer over at six flags great adventure. another 240-foot monster, and they're really great to ride. >> peter, for those families that are watching this and maybe looking to get away over the summer, and i know there are a lot to talk about, but break down a top five of recommendations from you. >> well, obviously, you can't start a list without mentioning, of course, disneyland, and of course, disney world. you combine them both with the four parks over at disney world in orlando, and of course the
two over at disneyland. believe it or not, 37 million people actually will go this year to these parks. that's a pretty high figure. so, obviously, you've got to go to disney theming, is what it's all about. but also, universal studios in california, as well as in orlando, florida, you've got islands of adventure, and of course the wizarding world of harry potter is doing extremely well. great rides there, like, of course, dragon challenge, the hulk, and of course, their 3-d ride. that's another great place. everyone knows about those parks. number three on the list is actually, i believe, bush gardens is a fantastic location, both in tampa, as well as in williamsburg, virginia. and they have a new ride there which is a fantastic ride and one that everyone should go on. and while we're going down, if you're a roller coaster enthusiast, i'm a pilot myself, a frustrated pilot. i don't do that much more flying anymore. there's also cedar point in
sandusky, ohio. amazing ride. absolutely amazing. >> all right. so for all the kids out there and the adult kids out there watching too, we give them a good list, peter trabucco, i've got to bolt. e mile credit cards. battle speech right? may i? [ horse neighs ] for too long, people have settled for single miles. with the capital one venture card, you'll earn double miles on every purchase, every day! [ visigoths cheer ] hawaii, here we come. [ alec ] so sign up today for a venture card at capitalone.com. and start earning double. [ all ] double miles! [ brays ] what's in your wallet? can you play games on that? not on the runway. no. mine was earned off vietnam in 1968. over the south pacific in 1943. i got mine in iraq, 2003. usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation. because it offers a superior level of protection, and because usaa's commitment to serve the military, veterans and their families
weight watchers made me believe i could do it. join for $1 and you will too. weight watchers. believe. because it works. a live look at arlington national cemetery as america remembers soldiers that paid the ultimate sacrifice on this memorial day. the president there for observances at 11:00 a.m. this morning. and in other parts of the country, bracing for beryl. high winds and heavy winds soak parts of georgia and florida this morning after that tropical storm makes landfall. so what can be expected for today? we'll have that. hi, everybody. i'm thomas roberts. great to have you with me today. i hope you are enjoying some time off. and the president and first lady are hosting gold star families this morning for breakfast. they have a full slate of events planned today for memorial day. kristen welker joins us, what else is planned?
11:00 a.m. at arlington? >> reporter: a very full day here. the president and first lady will attend a ceremony at arlington national cemetery, where of course the president will lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown. he'll also deliver remarks there. then a little bit later on today, he'll attend a ceremony at the vietnam veterans' memorial wall. the vice president will also be there. they will be marking the 50th anniversary of the start of the vietnam war. now, it's also a busy day for mitt romney. he will be attending a memorial day ceremony in san diego with senator john mccain. you know, it bears noting, thomas, on this memorial day, that the veterans' vote will be important in this election. veterans make up about 13% of voters. president obama lost the veterans' vote to john mccain back in 2008 by about ten points. recent polling has been a little bit mixed. one poll showed president obama fairing pretty well with veterans, but a poll just out today, a gallup poll, shows that he is trailing mitt romney by about 24 points when it comes to
the veterans' vote. as you know, thomas, we've heard president obama talk a lot about some of the initiatives he believes he has enacted that has helped veterans. he's also right now pressing congress to pass tax breaks for companies that hire veterans as a part of his to-do list. so you expect as this campaign season unfolds both candidates to be courting the veterans' vote. >> kristen welker, thank you. the other big story we're following today is tropical storm beryl. and it's battering parts of florida and georgia this morning. as much as a foot of rain could cause some major flooding in parts of the southeast, could make for some major headaches for your holiday drive home. the weather channel's mike seidel has the very latest from jacksonville beach, florida, where the storm made landfall just after midnight. mike? >> reporter: hi, thomas. we're still getting hit by wind and rain out here on jacksonville beach. last night, the winds were blowing down the beach from the north and we had gusts up at the naval air station in mayport and jacksonville as high as 62 miles per hour.
now the winds have shifted away from the south because the storm has gone inland to the west. it's west of jacksonville, but the rain is still wrapping around. that's what we're getting out on the beaches right now, these bands. and right now we still have a flood warning for the metro jacksonville area. that continues until 11:15 this morning. one band has dropped over the area, dropping rainfall at the rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour. there's been creeks and streams overflowing, still a big concern for that area. out here on the beach, it's the wind and blowing sand. look at the surf. that has came down too since last night. it's still a dangerous, certainly, swimming condition. we've got rip current risks from today, tonight, and tomorrow, but the waves now have came down to about 4-footers. we have 6, 7-footers up through last night. boy, the sand is stinging out here today. this is a slow-moving storm. it's slowly moving west at 8 miles per hour. it's going to make a slow right turn, picked up by a front, sent into sea, but not until
wednesday. we're looking for another couple of days of rain heavy at times. some of the local total could be 10 inches in an area that has the worst drought in the country. too much, too fast, but overall, a nice dent in the drought and lowering the fire danger here in this part of the state. thomas, back to you. >> thank you. republicans are defending mitt romney, even republicans who once criticized him, like rudy giuliani in 2008. jewel ygiuliani went after romn record of creating jobs. >> i was comparing what i thought was my far-superior record to his still decent record, but the numbers weren't as great. that's all part of campaigning. this is a man who ran a significant business, made it into a tremendous success, which used to be -- used to count for a lot in america. >> joining me now, republican strategist joe watkins and democratic strategyist, richard goodstein. joe, it's always tough in these campaigns when you're running
against somebody, you come out against them, then you have to pivot and basically eat your words and say how great they are. >> that's how it works in politics. i mean, everybody knows that these campaigns are hard fought, when you're in a primary setting, clearly you have to go say what's bad about folks in your own party. but when it comes time for the general election, it's time to show all the love. and you've got to kind of suck it up and say, hey, i'm sorry about what i said. the truth of the matter is, no matter what i said about this man, he's still better than the guy in the other party. >> how do people check their egos? >> you've got to if you want to continue to play. you've got to be humble, and heating humble buy is not a bad thing. i've eaten plenty in my time. >> richard, as we talk about rudy giuliani, he isn't the only one. he's been really critical of mitt romney, now out there defending him, but it's newt gingrich who is very critical, brutal during the primary. everybody remembers this. take a look. >> you call this time at bain exploitation. >> i was very careful. i didn't go after private
equity. if you just heard the president just now, he's going after all private equity in a way, which someplaces why you had senator warner, you had the governor of massachusetts, who's one of his closest allies, you had senator feinstein, you had cory boorkke on the show. there are 15 or 20 democrats now who have said, this iss an inaccurate and wrong approach for the president to be taking. >> david gregory reminding newt gingrich what exactly he had to say in the primary on "meet the press." does he sound a little hypocritical there, that he went after romney on bain, but it's wrong for the president to do it. >> listening to newt and even rudy giuliani make cory booker look like the surrogate of the year, we're kind of reminded of these trips down memory lane, vulture capitalism, the pious baloney that newt threw at romney. >> where's the love? >> and even mike huckabee saying that romney looks like the guy who fired you. you know, we have tape. it's a little different
environment than we had several years ago, where you could say one with thing, and somehow think that it would just go away. here's the thing about newt's comments, thomas. you know, he admits that he said that bain looted companies, that romney looted companies and walked away with tens of millions while people lost their jobs or health care or pensions. but he said, you know, i'm saying it doesn't work. well, it actually did work with in south carolina for him. and the reason it didn't keep working is he backed off the argument because rush limbaugh and people like that kind of shamed him against making that argument. i think it's actually going to be pretty effective. >> if you put that the pious baloney between toast with honey mustard, it's probably better for you when you're eating it out there. joe, before we talk more about mitt romney and the fact that there are people that are going to coalesce around him and prop him up as we ramp toward november, obviously, but does he have really strong defenders that are out there already, that are behind him 100%. who would they be? >> that would be everybody. that would be everybody in the
republican party who wants to see a republican white house. they will be strong defenders of mitt romney. they will be pushing hard. you can see already in the national polling data that the numbers are tightening. that what was a race that was 10 points wi points, 20 points apart is now a very close race. that's because mitt romney is talking about what americans want to hear, which is how do you fix the economy, get people back to work. they want to hear that. every republican senator, every republican member of congress, every republican governor, every republican surrogate will be singing that same song. >> richard, lastly, though, defending mitt romney on bain, he doesn't need republican surrogates out there to do that if there are people like cory booker that are going to show up and do the work for them. >> you know, look, thomas, i think the fact is the predominant democratic view, and you really aren't even hearing cory booker or anybody else anymore dispute this, ed rendell, who's thrown out. you talked to them an hour ago. what they say is that the argument about bain brings up arguments about inequality, about the anger, still, at wall street, about who's going to
stand up for the middle class and who's going to stand up for the 1% or the 1% of the 1% who own horses that cost $1 million a year, thank you, new yo"new y time times", yesterday. >> richard, we were hoping that it would bring us together, that's what we were hoping, that the president would not try to segment us by attacking the population and attacking one segment. we hoped that he would bring us all together. and the folks in private equity are creating jobs, their doing good work. >> and barack obama is not criticizing private equity. he's criticizing this perversion of capitalism that lets mitt romney and his partners walk away with millions when the people have lost their jobs, their health care -- >> that's called risk and reward. >> no, no, no. >> this is capitalism, richard. >> no. the risk and reward is you gain a few, invest in companies that work, and you don't profit at the ones that fail. that's the perversion of capitalism. >> you profit if you do a good job, you make money. if you don't do a good job, you lose money, sadly. that's the way it works in
capitalism. and mitt romney did an excellent job, so he profited. he made money. >> the companies that went bankrupt, joe. >> he put lots of people to work, and as the governor of massachusetts, he did the same thing. >> 47th out of 50th is not a job record to thump his chest about. and you can't honestly say with a straight face that when you're looting companies you've invested and you've skimmed off all this money by virtue of loading them down with debt and having them go bankrupt, that is not a successful record. >> you don't loot companies. i got money from venture capitalist and private equity folks to start a business. these are the folks that take a risk. they give you capital so you can build a business and hopefully if you work hard, the business succeeds, and you make some money. that's what mitt romney did. that's a good thing. that's what the american dream is all about. >> no. the steelworker in youngstown, ohio, is the notion that mitt romney and his cronies would have walked away with tens of millions because guys just like
that steelwork got hosed when their company got shut down. that's not private equity, that's a perversion of capitalism. and that's what, i think, is going to be effective as this rolls out for the obama campaign. we'll see. >> is the striving for the american dream, is it worthwhile to say that somebody else's american dream gets discounted because mine's stronger? so his american dream is to make money, but is it to crush somebody else' american dream and take their pension? >> in capitalism, there are winners and losers, there are people who win and people who lose in capitalism. and sometimes people may lose their jobs in capitalism, but the good thing is that there's the opportunity for everybody and anybody to succeed. and mitt romney has made a lot of people successful, he's made a lot of people a lot of money, and i think he'll do the same for america as president. >> joe watkins and richard goodstein, thanks for your time this morning. i appreciate it. this memorial day, we honor the sacrifices of american's troops and take a look at the effort being made to find our returning vets jobs when they find home. and take a look at this,
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so as the nation commemorates more than 6,400 troops who died in post-9/11 wars, it's a sobering statistic of the 1.6 million iraq and afghanistan war vets, 45% are now seeking disability benefits. that's more than double the number who filed for such claims after the gulf war in the 1990s. and i'm joined again by colonel jack jacobs, an msnbc military analyst, recipient of the congressional medal of honor, and john saltz, chairman of votevets.org joins the conversation. gentleman, great to have you here. and jack, as we look at that number, it is an eye-opening statistic for a lot of people. let's talk about the explanation for why that number has doubled
over the past decade. >> well, for one thing, it's the way we fought. when you send people down unsecured roads on administrative and logistical jobs and you do not secure the front and flanks of the road, you're making a big mistake. it's just an invitation to get killed or wounded by an improvised explosive devices and a large percentage of our casualties have been caused by improvised explosive devices. you can't do that. you've got to make sure you protect your force and make sure it's secure and we haven't done a very good job of that in this war. >> john, how much of these disabilities are posttraumatic stress disorder and the tentacle issues that then come off of that. >> with a 45% of people coming
in for claims, the number we're, comfortable with in the military is one of every three troops who dies in iraq or afghanistan dies from an ied, and then we expect one in three troops who return home to seek some type of mental health support for ptsd and these types of things. a lot of that has to do with the fact of the extent of the deployment. so you've got a lot of people going two or three tours. as the iraq war ended, you know, it's always a big question of how did you only go one time? there's a tremendous amount of wear and tear. the ptsd, the traumatic brain injury, which is something a lot of people seek treatment for, unlike other wars, for instance, colonel jacobs in vietnam, one out of every three troops who was wounded died, but in this war we've been able to save more on the battlefield and now we're losing one in eight. a lot of times when people are wounded and they survive, there are a lot of other issues they face down the road and that's where we're seeing the traumatic brain injuries. it is overwhelming.
the va system is having a problem meeting the demand now. >> it's never had to face post-iraq, post-afghanistan, where we are right now as the drawdown continues for afghanistan. jack, the challenges the returning vets face in this troubling economy, that's staggering enough, but when you think about the fact that they do return with issues with ptsd, it does, you know, logic would dictate that disability could be a big benefit in helping these young men, these young women while they are looking for work. >> well, there is a lot that's being done. a lot of corporations are working on getting veterans trained and hired. there are a lot of charitable organizations that are doing it as well. i think the defense department has to do a much better job of preparing our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who are leaving the service to prepare them for life outside the service. but i've got to tell you something. a lot of people view giving a job to a veteran as charity.
i think this is complete nonsense. there is nobody like military people who get responsibility and authority at a very early age. there are people who are 20, 21 years old in the military who have had authority and response way in excess of their age, way more than the people who are looking to hire them. so giving veterans jobs is not charity. you're getting absolutely the best people this country can produce. >> john, just from your personal experience, you took a one-year leave of absence to return to iraq and then returned to the current job you have now. what is your recommendation to veterans who return, to struggle to find the right job that fits what they want to do? >> right now i'm going to tell them that our foundation, the vet voice foundation has a relationship with an organization trying to help vets get jobs called america wants you. we have a relationship online with career builder. there's thousands of jobs on that website. i would ask people to go check it out. like colonel jacobs said,
there's a lot of nonprofit organizations trying to help connect veterans who are unemployed with corporations who are looking to hire. but i would like to add that the economy's a bad economy right now, and we've done things in this that we haven't done before. we've relied heavily on the national guard and reserve. public sector jobs are around attack in this country. the postal service is under attack. state government jobs are under attack, teacher jobs are under attack. these are traditionally the types of jobs that are required , if guard reservists are going to serve their country, they need to work in one of these jobs. it's hard for a small business owner to keep these individuals on, you know, to bring them back and guarantee they have a job. if there's no job for people who work for small business or private corporations that are under attack, there's no job when they come home, no job that can be protected under the soldier and sailors relief act. because we rely so heavily on guard and reservists, a lot of them come home and there's no job to return to.
>> we appreciate your time this morning. stay with us, more ahead. a live picture and a beautiful shot of arlington national cemetery this morning. clear skies and the president will be there to lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldiers at 11:00 a.m.. [ morgan ] lopez lomong started running when he was six
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heavy rains from tropical storm beryl are pounding parts of florida and georgia this morning. flooding possible along the coastline as well, just hours before beryl's landfall, though, a very different site in georgia. can you see that? a double rainbow over the beach at st. simon's island. we'll get all the details from nbc meteorologist, todd santos, next and this is what inspires us to create new technology. ♪ technology that connects us to everything the world has to offer and vice versa. ♪
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nbc meteorologist todd santos has been tracking the storm and joins me now with more. todd, i have to admit, i keep wanting to call this storm "barrel." i've been struggling with a crisis of pronunciation all morning long, beryl! >> if you do it fast and a southern accent, it works. >> that's what i do normally. >> i kind of put this on there with the infrared satellite picture so you can see the cold, high cloud tops. you can see some building up off the coastline. that implies we're dealing with some strengthening going on, pushing towards the low country of south carolina, including savannah. those are the best chance to see some of those gusts upwards of 50 miles per hour. we saw one gust over 70, mayport, florida, earlier this morning, at 73 miles per hour. there have been some bigger gusts. the system as a whole is
weakening as it continues over land and even by the next advisory, maybe downgraded. but the very latest out of the national hurricane center, it's a 40-mile-per-hour tropical storm, west at 8 miles per hour, and that motion over the next couple of days carries that back across the carolinas. so we'll be dealing with this right through wednesday. >> all right, todd. thank you, sir, appreciate it. we'll talk again shortly. so the temperatures are up again this memorial day weekend and the gas prices, they're down. a few cents below last year's level, in fact. and experts say that's good cause for americans looking to hit the road this year. the big question is, how far are they planning to go on the gas that they're getting for that lower price. coral davenport is the energy correspondent for the national journal and joins me now. let's go over there. the national average for a gallon of gas is down a few cents from last year. the estimates, nearly 35 million americans traveling 50 miles or more over the weekend. as we look at that, what is the opinion of that being a good or
bad sign for how people are feeling about our economy? >> it's probably a good sign. and then we also see analysts are projecting that gas prices, normally they go up in the summer months, but right now they're projected to continue to go down throughout the summer months and through the rest of the year. >> so, coral, there seems to be also this willingness for people, if they can equate the shorter distances in their head, that they're willing to pay the cash for the gas, and they know it's more expensive, but if they don't have to travel so far. is that a confidence that people should have or a caution about their fuel expenditures? >> well, right now, again, it looks like we're going to -- we're seeing a little bit more confidence about fuel expenditures, about what drivers are willing to pay, how about how far they're willing to go. and again, knowing that gas prices are projected to continue to go down, we should be able to see a little bit more
confidence, and more driving. >> coral, that's the hook for a lot of people, though. because normally at this time of year, we're seeing the gas prices go up. traditionally, at the start of the summer season, memorial day, and here they continually climb, week by week. since we had this kind of early burst in the beginning of 2012, where we saw gas prices go up so fast, it's kind of like seeing the christmas decorations at halloween time, so people get confused by that. are we expected to see this slow trickle-down, week by week, over the summer months? is that the forecast for us this summer? >> the current forecast from the energy information administration, which is the statistics branch of the energy department, is that for now, it looks like the gas prices are projected to go down week by week throughout the summer, and even throughout the rest of the year. they've done the forecast through the end of the year, and it's a very slow but steady decline. >> how much is that linked to the upcoming elections? >> it's not really linked to the elections. it's -- most of it is due to
forces beyond the control of u.s. policymakers or the u.s. political system. it has to do with the terrible economy in europe, slowing growth in china, the easing of political tensions over iran's nuclear program. these are the reasons that we're seeing that decline, and you know, anything going on -- you know, there could be some sudden change, also, beyond our control, that would, you know, that would stop that decline, that prices could spike up again due to unforeseen circumstances. but mostly, it's slowing growth outside the united states that's drawing -- that's driving that decline. >> coral, does it come, though, from more scrutiny put on speculators that ultimately drive the price up? >> there's debate on this. i mean, right now most experts would say that market speculation is one piece of the cost of oil and gasoline, but by and large, it's driven by the
fundamentals on a global market. it's supply and demand, how much supply there is, how much demand there is. those are really the chief drivers of the price of oil and the price of gasoline. and what's going on right now is we're seeing less demand in europe and asia. and those are really, you know, those are really the main forces behind the decline in cost of gasoline. >> certainly comes as a relief to those families who are scrapping to pull it together to travel, throw the kids in the car, and travel this summer. it is goobz d news on that fron. coral davenport, thanks again. president obama is getting political pressure here at home on the pace of the economic recovery and from republican leaders on his foreign policy decision making. >> this administration has a feckless foreign policy, which abandons american leadership. the only conclusion you can draw is that this president wants to kick the can down the road on all these issues until after the election. >> "washington post" political reporter felicia somez joins me
again this morning. as we hear about that, hard to say, feckless foreign policy, and that was the speaker speaking earlier. but when we talk about russia or syria or even iran, the president currently pressured from the right on his policies. can this grow into a bigger issue for the administration moving forward? or does his main opponent, governor romney, want to stick to the economy and those types of issues that are much closer to home for people? >> well, i think the thing that the romney campaign could hope for when it comes to turning around their fortunes on foreign policy would be for there to be some sort of unforeseen situation in iran or the escalation of the conflict in syria or something along those lines that would be a game changer internationally. because right now when you look at where president obama stands, just look at public opinion polling, foreign policy is one of the areas where he gets his highest ratings. i think it was 48% of respondents in the last "washington post"/abc news poll said they approved of his handling on that, and that's compared to about 43% on the economy. it's an area where i think the
president is standing on pretty firm ground right now. and certainly, you've got top romney surrogates like senator mccain coming out here and criticizing the president. on the other hand, you do have people such colin powell on the republican side, sort of pointing the finger back at the romney campaign and saying, wait a minute, maybe you guys -- or you don't have the advisers sort of best in place here to be doing this criticizing. i think if the situation goes as it is going right now, things look to be pretty good in the president's favor, but as with anything, the situation could change pretty quickly in a minute here. >> right. this is the weird dichotomy that's going, we see senator mccain saying a feckless foreign policy, then speaker boehner saying, where are the jobs, keeping focus on that point? so do they start pressing more on foreign policy? if colin powell is coming out saying, hey, you're really off the mark on this one, is it year's to say on what has worked for them, which is the fact that the economy is sluggish?
>> i think it's real interesting, when you look at romney himself and what he says on the trail, he almost exclusively focusing on the economy. and you've got speaker boehner on the hill as well, several other top republicans making that their number one talking point, their number one issue. you've got a couple other surrogates here and there sort of throwing the attention elsewhere, but i think, absolutely, from the romney campaign's perspective, they want to keep this as focused as they can, as tightly as they can on the economy. and look at, for instance, when the president came out and embraced same-sex marriage a few weeks ago. you had, speaker boehner was asked about that on capitol hill, and this was an opportunity for him to the turn that into a bigger issue. and he waved away questions about it and said, where are the jobs, sort of repeating his mantra on that. so i think that incident was sort of the latest instance of republicans sort of keeping very closely to felicia, i want to g take on this. this is david brooks on meet the press and i have a question for you on the other side. >> i question the obama
administration's focus to start negative. and this seems to be self-destructive. people like obama, personally, they admire him. and i think he risks throwing that away by starting negative and going extremely tough. >> we're talking about the president obama re-election playbook here. is it a mistake to go negative out of the gate? is it too early for that? >> i think it seems a little bit early, and that's probably because the campaign is wrapping up now at the end of may here when it comes to the gop primary, but i think strategically, it makes perfect sense for the obama campaign to do this. when it comes to how familiar voters are with mitt romney, there's still a large section of the population that's not that familiar with him, particularly when it comes to his bain record. so of course when the obama campaign goes out the gate here, it makes sense for them to try to define romney before romney gets a chance to try to define himself. and you'll have romney campaign surrogates like marco rubio from florida, the freshman republican senator, and maybe running mate for romney down the line, he has sort of dinged obama on that and
said, he's not the same kind of candidate with the same kind of positivity and magic he had four years ago. and that, i think, is the one criticism that the white house opens itself up to by making this a negative campaign, but really, when it gets down to it, they would have to do that sooner or later, and i think the sooner side of things make sense from a strategic standpoint. >> felicia sonmez, thank you. we move on to london now, and former prime minister tony blair on the stand about london's hacking scandal. interrupted by a hacker who callcall ed blair a war criminal after being removed from the court. he quickly resumed being grilled about rupert murdoch. stephanie gosk joins us from london to fill us in on this. it's been a heated morning so far, or afternoon, forgive me. >> reporter: it has. nothing compared to that pie-flowing incident with rupert murdoch in parliament last summer, but still a little bit of an interpretation. these hearings were triggered by
allegations of phone hacking at the now-defunct "news of the world" newspaper, but their scope is much broader. in their final stages, it hopes to pull back the curtain on the media's influence over the government. tony blair had a close relationship with rupert murdoch while he was prime minister, but was it too close? >> it would be strange, frankly, if senior people in the media didn't have that close interaction. >> reporter: but he acknowledged the the relationship can grow into something he called unhealthy. >> those papers that take a particular view on a policy, a party, or a person, then that is driven with an aggression and frankly a prejudice that means you crossed the line. >> reporter: murdoch's newspaper, "the sun," endorsed blair in the late '90s. murdoch was asked about the endorsement and his influence over blair's policies when he was questioned last month. >> you had extracted really, as much as you could from mr. blair in terms of policy promises, so
you endorsed him? >> i think so. >> reporter: blair's personal relationship with the newspaper tycoon would continue to grow. the former prime minister is godfather to one of murdoch's children. a cabinet member in blair's administration testified he had concerns that blair might appear too closely linked to murdoch. >> i didn't want him to say or do anything that might lead people to infer that he was under some obligation to mr. murdoch. >> later on, blair went on to say that his friendship with murdoch didn't really develop until after he left office and that he would never had said yes to being the godfather to murdoch's child if he was still prime minister. >> stephanie gosk, thank you. and "men in black" finally taking down "the avengers" after three weeks in the number one spot. and the summer movie season is just getting started. we've got a preview of all the biggest blockbusters of the summer, next. >> good afternoon! actually it can.
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welcome back, everybody. it looks like the "men in black" beat "the avengers" at the box. they took in $55 million this holiday weekend. "the avengers" came in second, earning $37 million. and those two are just the tip of hollywood's superhero iceberg for you this summer. brian joins me now with a sneak preview of some of the other big films that are coming to the theater near you. you should have been here in the commercial break, because we let them all have it. now we have to clean it up. so let's start with this. everybody's talking about "the avengers" was big money. now "men in black" came in to steal that top spot. >> "men in black" just debuted to over 100 million worldwide. you want to feel old? sure, it's been ten years since "men in black 2."
if that doesn't make everyone feel sad. he has to go back -- will smith goes back to 1969. you see tommy lee jones there, to go back and see a young tommy lee jones played by josh brolin, who does an amazing job of recreating the look and voice of tommy lee jones. >> there's j., right, and k.? >> they just unseated "the avengers." >> so let's go to "prometheus," this is a highly anticipated prequel of "alien." >> ridley scott is back in space, they love him. so "prometheus," it's amazing, because it's a little bit of a prequel, but obviously with better technology. charlize theron is in it, michael fastbender, and i think it looks intense. >> are the core audience, the core audience of alien going to get that connectivity, though? >> you know, you don't have to have seen the "alien" series to see this, but look at comic-con,
it's huge. all those sci-fi people will see this movie. >> the other one that's coming out for the kids, young adults, "brave." >> yes, disney/pixar. they very rarely miss, disney/pixar. >> it's the little mermaid in scotland. >> it's not! >> ariel with legs and brogue. >> you know the little mermaid, she's like, i'll give up my fins and get legs to the meet someone. but anyway, this archer, she's still a princess, but she's in scotland, and she's going to fight people to the death. she's a haeroinaieroinai herowi. >> and so then, "rock of ages," which i'm not sold on. it's tom cruise, alec baldwin. >> a broadway show that's in
production right now. >> boy meets girl and they sing about it for like two hours. then there's tom cruise looking sure of himself. alec baldwin's going to steal the show, julianne hough. everyone's saying it's going to be a big hit, but i don't know if it's for everyone. >> great to see you. always great to have you here. so was the biebs really in a brawl? singer justin bieber is wanted for questioning by the l.a. county sheriff's office after a photag complained that he roughed him up at a shopping mall. he claims it happened after he tried to get picks of him and his girlfriend, teen actor, selina gomez, after they left a movie theater. . germ party! eww! now the colgate total mouth. nice! [ female announcer ] colgate total fights 90% more plaque germs. i'm in. [ female announcer ] colgate total. less germs. healthier mouth. your doctor will say get smart about your weight.
group joins me now. it's great to see you this morning, and as we talk about governor romney really banking on the economic message that he has, making this election a referendum on president obama and his policies on our economy. however, without this clear and concise policy on immigration reform, isn't he going to struggle in places like nevada, colorado, this fall? i mean, he's not going to be able to pick those states. >> well, hispanic voters are clearly not monolithic. they care about a lot of issues, including getting the economy back on track. and i think the trick for governor romney is to take immigration and morph it into an issue where it fits into his economic plan of competing internationally. for instance, people thinking about immigration and think about the southern border issues that are absolutely critical, but we also need to think about getting the best and the brightest in from overseas, the people who can invent the next kinect xbox and will be our scientists and engineers. but i think most voters understand that we have invested
a ton over ten years on enforcement and now's the time to take the next step, and rationalize the people who are really contributing to society. >> let's go over the piece you have in "the new york times" on policy announcements that romney should make, touched on certain key issues. and i want to go over just a few first, temporary travel. explain that. >> well, we've seen a huge explosion of travel around the world as economies move into the middle class. china, brazil, rest of south america. and we have missed out, to some extent, on that gold rush of travel coming. president obama's done a lot over the last year or so to encourage temporary travel to come in to see our national parks and the disneys of the world. but there's certain things that governor romney could address, such as interviewing people by video conference, make it easier for business people to come into the country that would really be very helpful to our competitiveness internationally. >> stewart, let's get that list back up there. on the very bottom of it, we have the american dream amendment. explain that to everybody, what that would mean for romney's
platform. >> sure. well, the constitution says you have to be a native-born citizen, which essentially means you have to be a citizen at birth. and i think, and many people think, somebody who's living and growing up in asia or south america wants to emigrate to the united states, become a citizen, why shouldn't they have the chance to run for the highest office in the land. we broke down a lot of barriers in the last election. a lot of americans were considerably proud about that achievement. there's no reason that somebody who comes to this country shouldn't be allowed to run for president, just the way they can run for senate, house representatives. so a constitutional amendment's required. i think it would send a great message to the world that we want the best and the brightest to come here. >> and stewart, real quickly, the good neighbor visa? >> well, we've had a real battle over ten years on whether people who are here illegally should be allowed to stay and under what circumstances. people who are here working the clergy, law enforcement, the military, who have started small businesses, why not offer them an indefinite visa, not a right
to citizenship, but the ability to stay here, continue their good acts in the community. we've had a big debate over the dream act, which is about kids and how they came into the country. how about somebody who's running a business employing people? somebody who's a community leader, let's put them at the front of the line in terms of allowing them to stay, no special favors for citizenship, but let's not devote our enforcement resources to trying to kick these people out of the country. >> stewart verdery, great to see you. coming up next, tropical storm beryl, we'll check back on that. it's churning over southern florida and northern georgia this morning. tell you just how much rain to expect. and president obama continuing to fire at mitt romney over bain capital. is it all too negative and coming too soon? we'll explore that. and then on this memorial day, helping vets find homes and secure safe home loans when they return from combat. that many and much more. keep it right here on msnbc. [ woman ] for the london olympic games, our town had a "brilliant" idea.
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right now on msnbc, tropical storm beryl targets florida and georgia, creating new worries about flooding and traffic trouble on this memorial day weekend. we'll have it for you. then, early offensive. the obama camp doesn't seem to be backing down against mitt romney's record at bain capital. is it too negative and all too soon? and former british prime minister tony blair questioned on his close relationship with rupert murdoch. it's all part of the "news of the world" phone hacking investigation. we'll have the details from court for you. hi, everybody. great to have you with me today. i'm thomas roberts. and we great straight to what's on the agenda for this memorial day. and it's people in florida and georgia who are waking up to drenching rains this memorial day holiday. the second strongest storm to ever hit the u.s. in may could bring as much as a foot of rain and the storm making landfall originally in jacksonville, just after midnight, where the city's mayor, alvin brown, is bracing for the worst. >> everything's going to be shut down. we're really preparing for this tropical storm, and it's all about safety. we want